Guide to Buying Hardwood Flooring

tips for buying hardwood flooringBuying hardwood floor tips

Congratulations on your decision to buy hardwood for your flooring project.  Hardwood flooring is aesthetic pleasing, durable, environmentally friendly and easy to maintain.  While there are many types of flooring materials you can use, you will enjoy the many benefits wood flooring:
Wood floors add a certain sense of volume and space to any room, making feel larger or wider.  It is a flooring material with unsurpassed beauty and elegance giving your living space a high end look and warm feel. Unlike other flooring, wood flooring is one of the oldest types of flooring covering and will never go out of style.  Hardwood floors are very strong and durable; adding structural strength to any flooring system, they can be used in residential setting and even in high commercial traffic.  Depending on the application, hardwood lends itself to be used in any application; even to resist the drop of heavy bowling balls.

It is environmentally friendly. Because wood is a natural occurring resource, it can be forested and reforested over and over again with very little impact on the environment. This makes it possible for hardwood producers to grow different types of wood.

Different types of hardwood flooring is another great benefit, there are wood types for the very high end applications to the everyday economy construction or remodeling.  Depending on the floor project, you can choose from the very hardest commercially available Hickory to the most common Red or White Oak to the very soft Douglas Fir.

So what is the best hardwood floor to buy?

Depending on your project and decor consideration, there are several factors that will affect your decision.  One will be where is the wood going to be installed. If the area to be covered is a very high traffic such as a kitchen or access hallway, you would want to buy a harder wood species such as red oak or maple.  If you want color and character, you would want to buy Cypress or Mahogany.

Solid or engineered

solid refers to the wood plank cut directly from the stock whereas engineered is several layers of wood stacked and glued together to form a wood plank. Solid wood can be installed in any level of the property except below grade due to humidity considerations. Because, the way engineered floor is constructed, it is suitable for any level.

Prefinished hardwood flooring vs unfinished

If you are limited to time, you may consider buying prefinished hardwood flooring. Prefinished is a solid or engineered wood plank that already has the color and very durable finish applied to it. This is a huge benefit since there will no need to sand and finish the floor.  As soon as the floor is installed you can move in.  Unfinished is a solid floor plank installation that will require the sanding, sealing and finishing with stain if desired.  This will require up to a four week wait time before you move in.

Hardwood floor cost

One big factor is the wood floor cost.  Depending on the type and or species of wood, exotic woods such as Ash, Beech, or Brazilian Cherry can range from $5.75 to over $8.00 per pre-finished square foot. At the lower end of the scale, you can purchase a non-exotic wood, such as unfished oak at a local wood floor supply house under $3.00 per square foot.  Some floor types tend to be less costly such as engineered or laminate. This factory-produced wood is generally not as thick and solid as plank wood but is well suited for some special application or situations.

Choosing a wood floor color

You’ll find that there is an amazing array from which to make your selection. Light or natural wood looks great as part of any decor but really or when you are trying to bring your natural surroundings such as beaches or forests inside. Darker woods such as mahogany are well suited for more contemporary or modern formal areas.

Wood floor finishing

If you opted for the unfinished wood, than the finishing will involve staining for a desired color or shade, sealing to aid in sealing the wood pores and proper adherence to the finish. There are two major types of wood floor finishes; oil-based urethane (the most popular) and water base. Oil based finishes are relatively easy to apply and provide a rich deep look with a long and drying and curing time. Water based is more of a challenge to apply dry and cure faster but may cost a bit more.

Installation Considerations

Selecting the installation method depends on the wood type you buy. The most common method is nailed or stapled down for thick solid wood, floated for engineered or laminated and glued for special situations. All these and each of these will greatly impact your final cost.

Selecting a hardwood flooring contractor

We strongly recommend that you use professionally trained and well experienced wood floor Installation Company to install your floors. Hardwood flooring is a big investment and trusting it only to a well-qualified contractor will ensure that the proper pre inspection, preparation, installation and finishing steps will be followed to ensure a successful installation that will stand the test of time.

 

Where to buy hardwood flooring

The easiest and best way to research for your hardwood project is the internet. You can even make your purchase online. There are numerous online stores that provide expert information and advice to help you with your buying process. Make sure that you order samples before you make your final wood floor purchase online.

If you like to shop with and buy locally, you can visit a local wood floor supplier, they will have a large selection of wood species and finishes for your select and have experienced sales personnel to answer your questions and assist you with delivery.

Big box stores also carry the most common unfinished flooring as well as a good selection of prefinished solid, engineered or laminate wood flooring.

With all these hardwood floor buying tips, you are armed with the right information to get you started in comfortably buying and installing the right hardwood for your home or commercial flooring project.

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